Meet Gina Peter. Gina is a very busy person with a passion for the volunteer work she does with the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. She holds a number of positions with the organization, including being an immediate past Board Member and an active member of the Finance Committee. With all the great work she does, she still manages to volunteer with other organizations!
She is passionate about both her career and volunteer work, and enjoys being able to give back to the community and meet new people. Being one of three female co-chairs for the Zoo Ball on top of all the other great work she does, it is easy to see why Gina Peter has been chosen as the 2017 Swigart Board Leadership Award winner.
NPC interviewed Gina Peter on her work as a volunteer and, of course, how it feels to be an Inspire by Example Award Winner.
Gina: I find volunteering to be fun! If you volunteer with causes and organizations that you are passionate about, then it is fun and easy to spend time to benefit them.
NPC: Describe the organization you volunteer for and the work they do.
Gina: I volunteer for a number of organizations, but the Zoological Society nominated me for this award, so I am guessing that you want me to focus on them. The Zoological Society of Milwaukee (ZSM) supports the Milwaukee County Zoo, educates people about the importance of wildlife and the environment and supports local and global conservation initiatives.
NPC: What is your role or title with the organization, how long have you been a volunteer there and what are your responsibilities?
Gina: I am the immediate past Board Chair, a member of the Finance Committee, the Nominating Committee and the Executive Committee. I have been a volunteer with ZSM since 1990 starting with the Associate Board and I have been on the Governing Board since 1996.
NPC: What has surprised you the most about your work as a volunteer?
Gina: The most surprising part about volunteering to me is that it has been so much fun and allowed me and others to do so many things that we would not ordinarily do.
NPC: How is volunteering the same or different to you from paid work?
Gina: I am passionate about my work and about my volunteering, so in that way, I find them to be very similar. The main difference is that work is to earn a paycheck and volunteering is to pay it back.
NPC: Name something new you have learned as a volunteer for your organization.
Gina: The Zoological Society and the Milwaukee County Zoo started in 1892 in Washington Park and moved to its current location in the 1950’s. The Zoological Society started by purchasing animals and securing Zoo animal donations. The Zoo has 3,342 specimens representing 374 different species.
NPC: Has volunteering changed your point of view or the way you view your community and its people?
Gina: Not really – I have always felt that Milwaukee is a great community for volunteering and the people are great!
NPC: What are the benefits of volunteering? Has it helped you in any way?
Gina: There are numerous benefits of volunteering, ranging from meeting incredible people to feeling like you are giving back to your community and helping causes that you are passionate about.
NPC: Name something you are proud to have accomplished as a volunteer.
Gina: I was very proud to be one of three female co-chairs for the Zoo Ball, the Zoological Society’s largest fundraiser, where we raised more money to support the zoo than had ever been raised before at the event.
NPC: Would you recommend volunteering to someone else? If so, why.
Gina: I would absolutely recommend volunteering to everyone else! I can not think of one reason not to do it since you can give and you can receive at the same time!